April 23, 2014   23 Nisan 5774
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Our Green Synagogue  
Congregation Beth David, the first LEED Certified synagogue in the world, represents a bridge between a rich past and an unlimited future, continuing centuries of Jewish values and tradition as a house of worship, a place for study, and a center for cultural enrichment and meeting. It also embodies the Jewish doctrine of tikkun olam, (repairing the world) by using sustainable design and materials that have minimal or no environmental impact.
The Site  
The site was acquired in 2001, ending a 25-year search. Of its 92 acres, 62 are reserved for wetlands and permanent open space. After an intensive study of members’ needs, our architects, the San Luis Sustainability Group, were commissioned to design a “green” building that enhances the environment, conserves energy and meets the needs of a growing Congregation.

The general contractor, S.J. Deferville Construction Inc., was selected based on long experience in construction of religious buildings on the Central Coast. Committee work and fund-raising continued through February, 2005. On June 19, 2005, groundbreaking occurred. The first Sabbath worship service was held on Dec. 7, 2006.

Congregation Beth David has been awarded “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” (LEED® Certification).by the U.S. Green Building Council for recognition of the new synagogue as a high-performance green building.
Tikkum Olam  
Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) is exemplified by a solarheated, naturally-ventilated, solar-powered building that has:

194 windows, 10 skylights, 21 solar light tubes, 8 interior windows and 20 door transom windows bringing natural daylight to all areas

a photovoltaic array that provides 50 percent of electrical needs

motion detector light switches in all rooms to save energy by turning off lights when rooms are unoccupied

extra thick concrete floors, concrete walls, straw-bale walls, and south-facing water tank walls to create thermal mass that stores heat from the sun and cools the building in the summer

a computer-driven system that monitors exterior and interior climates to open or close 138 windows and skylights automatically for optimum airflow and temperature control

individual room thermostats and gas fireplaces for supplemental heat in only those areas being used

CBD solar panels


Outside the entry plaza’s four olive trees mark a landscape of native plants requiring minimal water, behind a 10’ high landscaped berm that serves as a protective screen from wind, traffic noise, and glaring lights as well as providing a need to slow down before arriving at the entry.

Outside Berm Landscaping





The entry plaza is crowned with a trellis representing the traditional priestly benediction. An area to the south is reserved for an olive orchard that will screen the overflow parking. Parking is available for 183 cars and 12 bicycles.

Outside Trellis

Inside the sanctuary, chapel, social hall, lobby, library, conference room, classrooms, full kitchen, youth lounge, gift shop and administrative offices total 16,190 square feet.

The design emphasizes maximum flexibility. The sanctuary seats 337. Capacity is expandable to 460 with removable soundproof partitions. The social hall is expandable for social gatherings, conferences, dining, concerts and classes.

Accessibility features include wide corridors, gentle ramps and lever door handles to accommodate people with disabilities.

Finish materials used include non-toxic paint and carpeting, recycled newsprint insulation, handtroweled strawbale walls, and “Pyrok” acoustical ceiling treatment.
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